How to Prepare for a Group Interview


So, you get the good news. A company wants to interview you! Then you get the bad news. It will be a group interview!

Is there anything worse then a group interview? As a professional recruiter I deal with group interviews all the time, and the reason why I don’t particularly care for them is the multitude of issues that inevitably come up. And there are many, believe me. It’s hard enough to build chemistry with one interviewer, let alone a group of interviewers with different ideas, personalities, likes and dislikes. It can be very challenging for any candidate to prepare for a group interview.

So, what should you do if you’re scheduled to have a group interview? The first thing you need to do is get all of the names of the individuals that will be attending the group interview. I recommend you get their names and titles. Why? It’s important for you to know the people attending the interview and what they specifically do for the company.

When you get the names and titles of the individuals you will see what you’re up against. For example, if the President, CFO, HR Manager, IT Manager, Purchasing Director and Equipment Manager are in this group interview, do you think they might have different questions related to their departments?

Absolutely! So you need to prepare accordingly for each person.

In my experience the generic predictable questions like, “What are your greatest strengths?” will come from the HR Manager. The more detailed and serious questions related specifically to your job will come from the other department heads. Or, even more specifically, the person you will report to. It’s important to know the individuals in this group interview, so you can prepare for their questions.

Obviously, you can see where the CFO will have financial type questions, the IT Manager will have computer, Internet, and possibly software questions, the Purchasing Manager will have purchasing or buying questions, and the Equipment Manager will have equipment and maybe maintenance type questions. See how you need to know the people that will be attending any group interview?

The truth is, you can’t get three people to agree on the time of day, let alone making decisions on which candidate to hire, that’s why I am not a big fan of group interviews. But, if you’re scheduled for one of these group interviews you will have to deal with it.My advice is to get all of the names of the attendees, do your research, and most importantly – be yourself! I hope this helps.

Good luck to you!

Mike Palumbo